A few years ago the zombie movie was quite popular and it is a film genre that has been around for decades perhaps the best known of recent British movies is Shaun of the Dead (2004). In virtually all such films there is a scene where lines of the living dead zombies march forward apparently unstoppable towards the heroes or heroines.
There is also the nursery rhyme if you go down the woods today you’ll be sure of a big surprise. Well as a public service announcement we would advise you that if you go down to your surgery at this time of the year you may also be sure of a big surprise. Yes go to your doctor’s surgery at the wrong time and you will see the annual zombie gathering that is a flu clinic.
Watch in amazement as line after line of the living dead hobble in waves towards the surgery seemingly unstoppable. Some can just walk on their own, some use a variety of walking aids that double as lethal weapons to those who are as yet not of the undead be it the form of walking sticks, Zimmer frames, wheelchairs and electric buggies. Others are helped by their relatives or carers and they have been prised out of their pre tombs for the annual march to the surgery for the life preserving anti zombie serum the annual flu jab.
In order to counter the waves of the undead surgeries have developed efficient methods of processing them. The undead are discouraged from regarding these flu clinics as drop in and moan clinics but the undead do not hear well at the best of times. The undead are processed brutally by the heroes and heroines of the annual general practice zombie flick the reception staff who ask them for name rank and serial number, tell zombie 6491 to expose your left (or right arm if left missing having been hacked off by one of the other undeads’ walking aids) and lurch forward to serum room X. NEXT!
At serum room X a nurse, doctor or other trained health care worker will plunge the life giving anti zombie serum into the exposed arm and utter the protective words “NEXT zombie to room X” and dispatch their current zombie before they can open their mouths and utter the well known zombie mantra of “While I am here . . .” NO NEXT!
They will have already tried that at the chemists before they got here as they can’t get their prescription which they forgot to collect the day before from today's zombie, sorry flu, clinic and will run out of tablets before the next surgery which would mean they would join the true undead. “You must help me doctor/nurse/receptionist” they whine with outstretched hands, pleading eyes, gasping their last . . . Wield the chainsaw and blast them with NEXT!
And so in at the front, report to reception no talking or moaning, jab and then out through the back the zombies lurch side to side slowly ever forward until they get back to the zombie mobile parking area. To those of us who are still alive this is as terrifying a place to be as is watching the waves of zombies walking in and through the surgery and out again.
Line upon line of white haired, hunched, swollen ankled, slowly moving from side to side faster than they move forward just defying gravity, spectacle wearing, false teeth clad sufferers of chronic diseases and well rehearsed self pitying regurgitated stories of woe kept going, i.e. just alive but not enjoying it. For we are living longer but not enjoying it, and they are here believing that the anti zombie serum will dent the Reaper’s scythe which it may well but it still keeps hacking away at their general health year on year with an ever worsening decline.
For in the limited space of a surgery the lurching zombie mode of walking is dangerous to most other than lawyers, indeed most of them in a major shipping lane could hit and damage something major usually a floor or failing that a supertanker but worse still is the spectacle of zombie parking wars. Here usually in small cars sometimes with one but sometimes with up to 4 zombies a vehicle they play dodgems and compete to park using the ancient way that headless zombies park using the touch park technique.
Leave your own vehicle here at your peril, walk here at your peril. Our staff park several miles away surrounded by anti terrorism concrete blocks just to be extra sure for whilst parking is a tactile experience for most zombies driving is more of a Braille reading exercise of straddling the white line and feeling for the cat’s eyes to know where to go and avoid bumping the kerbs which they frequently drive over and complain of the worsening potholes. Surgery walls frequently take damage on anti zombie serum days as zombies seek to avoid other stationary zombie mobiles in the car park entrance by giving them at least 3 times the width of the surgery car park as clearance.
Given that zombies are the second most dangerous group of drivers on the road the collection of large numbers of the living dead on a small area of road is lethal. Many of our medical students know them for they are usually the 40 mph in 30mph zone drivers and 40mph anywhere else for they are pushing the envelope of geriatric speed endurance.
The combination of a heater on full, steamed up car windows combined with cataract ridden eyes, out of date glasses wrapped up in fifteen layers of 1950s duffel coats and driving gloves with protective flat cap head wear, unstable bladders desperate to pee somewhere and reaction times 10 times slower than normal means that a right signal means I have priority and I am turning into a car park regardless of on coming traffic as another zombie pulls out unable to see the other vehicles 12 foot in front of them BANG! Left turners fare little better KPOW! CRUNCH!
After several hours of zombie carnage the surgery building and car park go quiet as the living dead have been dispatched with enough anti zombie serum to keep them going for another year. However the living dead leave behind them several things. The odd walking stick, limb prosthesis, glasses, scarves, gloves, hats, car keys, false teeth, mobile phones, handbags, wallets and hacked off body part have all been recovered but the worst bit and this is true of any battle is the smell. Unwashed clothing with the subtle industrial strength eau d’urine being the most easy way to describe the smell of the living dead after their annual visit and it lasts for hours sometimes days even after the use of Agent Orange strength air freshener.
This is not an end to general practice zombie wars for within 3 days of the first wave of zombies receiving their anti zombie serum they start to come back complaining that having had their anti zombie serum they have now become real zombies by virtue of having contracted the flu from their flu jab.
Is the annual zombie movie of the average GP flu clinic all worth it? To a general practice it might generate a few hundred pounds of extra income but that is not without costs in terms of staff time and discomfort. Our understanding is, and we are welcome to be corrected if we are wrong, that it does not reduce hospital admissions one bit. Yes it may protect you against flu but there are plenty of other viral infections in the winter months that will accelerate our proto zombie population into full zombiedom and hence hospital admission.
Praise be to the Party for providing the zombies with their life restoring serum every year. We hope it is worth for you all.
Until next year? Anybody watch the march of the Lords into their bespoke